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Add a Telemedicine Mental Health Care Plan as an Employee Benefit

Posted by Alden Hui on March 18, 2019
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Mental health issues are more common than you think. Innovate your company's approach to dealing with employee health and wellness. Discover a benefits package which can provide comprehensive health care coverage. 

Studies show that:

  • Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague.
  • In any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness.
  • Mental illness affects people of all ages, education, income levels, and cultures.
  • Approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some time in their lives.
  • About 1% of Canadians will experience bipolar disorder (or “manic depression”).

Paired with the fact that:

  • 49% of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about this problem

Mental health issues are commonly interpreted as a failure of the individual and as a result, cautiously hidden from the general public. Many are afraid or ashamed to visit a therapist due to the implications of doing so. Society, especially the work environment, commonly perceives mental health issues as a problem, and as a result, workers are encouraged to hide this behavior.

However, mental health initiatives are ongoing and awareness around the issue has noticeably improved over the years. 


Mental Health and the Workplace

Mental health greatly impacts job performance. It is no surprise that mental health and the workplace are closely linked, with stress as a high detriment to mental well-being. Sick days or time off work can greatly impact a company's output.

For every employee who is off work due to their mental health, 10 others are on the job but working below their potential due to ongoing mental health problems.

This no doubt impacts their engagement and productivity.

That's why it is in an employer's best interest to ensure their employees are in a strong mental state and ready to take on the day. 

What is the solution?

Many companies have opted to provide Employee Assistance Plans (EAPs) but that alone is often not enough. 

An affordable and effective solution is offering telemedicine services to your employees. 

What is telemedicine?

Simply put, telemedicine allows users to quickly access medical care with a qualified professional through mobile video chat.

Telemedicine is defined as "the use of telecommunication to provide clinical health care from a distance." It provides greater access to healthcare for all users, however, it's not limited only to those who live far away from a clinic. It can be convenient for a busy urban worker. 


How can telemedicine treat mental health?

Let's look at an example. You work at small business with 10 employees. You work at the office 9-5. Recently, a close relative passed away unexpectedly. As a result, you have been having issues focusing at work. You don't feel like visiting a therapist because it is inconvenient and expensive, as well as the stigma attached to it. The topic dwells on your mind all day and for the rest of the week. With telemedicine, you can quickly take a video call with a qualified medical professional or chat with a nurse. In just a few minutes, you can consult and get qualified advice on the matter at hand. You finish the call feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day. After the consultation, medical staff will ensure appropriate follow-up with all the resources you need. If a follow up is necessary, don't worry, your information is saved so you can pick back up where you last ended.

Medical professionals at the touch of your fingertips!

How does telemedicine reduce costs / save money?

Attract and retain talent

It's no secret. healthier employees are more likely to stay at their job. 

With an increasing number of employers offering telehealth options, it only makes sense for small businesses to step up their recruitment game.   

Reduce absenteeism and increase productivity

Without telemedicine, employees sick at work will be busy coordinating medical appointments or be worried about their family's health. In fact, healthy employees are proven to be more productive. You no longer have to worry about employees absenteeism, presenteeism due to a sickness.  

Access to healthcare even when working remotely or travelling within Canada

Peace of mind for the employee knowing that they are protected. 

Lower drug costs

Save time and money by having prescription drugs shipped (for free) to you. Eliminate lengthy prescription renewal processes. 

Promotes Work-Life Balance

Work-Life Balance is a crucial factor in today's workplace. Health coverage and virtual healthcare go hand in hand with it. Instead of arranging your schedule around your health, let these appointments fit your schedule. 

When should I use telemedicine? 

Telemedicine is used to treat common symptoms like colds and flu (fever, nasal congestion, and sinus pain) infections, allergies, arthritic pain, asthma, travel health, breastfeeding support, insect bites, rashes, UTIs, minor injuries, mental health, and more. Typically, anything that is easily treatable and doesn't require in-person procedures. 

Telemedicine should not be used for medical emergencies. Consult the ER or call 911 if you have severe conditions. 

Where can I buy these telemedicine services?

Olympia has partnered with Dialogue to offer two exclusive options:

1. Current HSA Group plan holders can implement Dialogue Telemedicine for their employees by completing a form in their My Olympia.  

2. The HSA Deluxe is an all inclusive plan for self employed workers / contractors. This plan includes a Health Spending Account, 3 insurance plans, and access for up to 2 employees (owner and spouse) to the Dialogue virtual healthcare platform.  Dependants are included.

What makes Dialogue different?

Dialogue is a secure and leading virtual healthcare service with one of, if not, the largest number of active medical professionals. It uses proprietary technology that continuously improves based on client and patient feedback. On top of that, many other telemedicine services do not offer pricing for 1-10 businesses. Most require a minimum of 20 employees.

Are you an existing Olympia HSA GROUP client? Learn how Dialogue helps your employee help you:

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Self employed incorporated business? Discover how Dialogue can benefit your family through the HSA Deluxe:

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Topics: employee benefits, mental health, dialogue